27 January 2013, 19:43

‘Information about the fate of Russian children adopted in US does not make anyone happy’ - Medvedev

‘Information about the fate of Russian children adopted in US does not make anyone happy’ - Medvedev

The ban on adoption of Russian children by Americans has no relation to the US Magnitsky Act, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said in the interview with CNN on Sunday. Russian officials blame US adoptive parents for the deaths of at least 19 of those children. The adoption ban is named after Dima Yakovlev (known also by his American name, Chase Harrison), a Russian toddler who died of heatstroke in 2008 after his American adoptive father left him in an overheated car for hours.

“The so-called Dima Yakovlev Law is in fact a law which expresses the concerns of Russia’s parliament, the Russian State Duma and the Federation Council, by the fate of our children,” Medvedev said, adding that the law is an “emotional” move which is “neither in fact nor in law” linked to the Magnitsky Act.

“However, many people viewed it as an action aimed against certain American citizens who want to adopt Russian children, but it’s not about it. It about another thing: we must finally take all the necessary decisions so that there are no orphans in Russia anymore,” the prime minister said.

Since the law banning US adoptions was passed, Russia’s leadership has been encouraging Russian families to adopt more children.

Figures from the US State Department show more than 60,000 Russian children adopted by American families in the last 20 years, including 962 last year.

“A large number of American families who adopted Russian children really provide the correct care, upbringing and education. And in that case, they get high marks. This is the highly moral attitude. But unfortunately, in our country we know a lot of cases when children adopted by American parents died or were tortured or lost their health in the U.S., and even one such case would be enough to suggest the draft of a law for consideration,” Medvedev said.

"Unfortunately, the information which we believe about the fate of Russian children adopted in the United States does not make anyone happy," Medvedev said.

‘No flexibility yet’ in Russia-US relations – Medvedev

Prior to the US presidential election, Obama promised ‘more flexibility’ with Russia during his second term in the office. But Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev says Washington’s position on the missile shield is still driving the two countries apart.

“No ease in relations over missile defense, no flexibility arose. We stand at the same positions – the position of the United States is one, the position of the Russian Federation is, unfortunately, different. And the convergence of these positions is not happening,” Medvedev told CNN.

Speaking to the “Fareed Zakaria GPS” program at the World Economic Forum in Davos, the prime minister expressed his concerns over the on-going anti-missile defense program provided by NATO, involving several countries bordering on Russia.

“We clearly understand that if we do not have guarantees such as the pairing of our programs, that means that missile defense could also work against the Russian nuclear arsenal. What does this mean? This means that the parity, which we recorded with President Obama by signing the New START treaty (a very important and very helpful treaty, by the way: I think this is the achievement of the so-called reset), [the parity] is being cracked by that, because the missile defense – is a direct continuation of nuclear offensive capability, combat nuclear weapons,” emphasized Medvedev.

Syrian crisis ‘intractable without national dialogue’ – Medvedev

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev believes forcefully ousting the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad would only make matters worse.

Speaking in an interview with the CNN Sunday, he argued that only a national dialogue involving all of Syria’s ethnic and confessional groups can save the country from a protracted civil war.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s chances of remaining in power are diminishing and he must sit at the negotiating table with all of Syria’s ethnic and religious groups to bring an end to the country’s civil war, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said.

Medvedev has called Assad several times urging him to negotiate, the Russian premier said in an interview with CNN’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS” program at the World Economic Forum in Davos. The interview is scheduled for broadcast today.

The conflict in Syria is a threat to ally Russia as well as Europe and the U.S. because Syria’s opposition is increasingly represented by Islamic radicals who will infiltrate other countries, Medvedev said. The Syrian people must decide their own future through “genuine national dialogue,” he said. Russia’s goal has never been to preserve Syria’s current political regime, he said.

“With every day, with every week, with every month, the chances of him surviving are becoming less and less,” Medvedev said through a translator, according to a transcript provided by CNN. “I personally a few times called Assad and said ‘You need to start reforms, you need to sit at the negotiating table.’ Unfortunately, the Syrian authorities turned out not to be ready for this.”

Voice of Russia, RIA, RT, TASS, Bloomberg

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